It might also explain why Alvarez disclosed this week that there were recent discussions, orchestrated by ESPN, about matching the Badgers against defending national champion and Southeastern Conference power Alabama at a neutral site. Alvarez, who handled scheduling when he coached the Badgers from 1990 to ’05, said Bielema countered with an offer to play a home-and-home series with the Crimson Tide — no specific years were discussed — but that Alabama coach Nick Saban declined.UW football: Bielema, Alvarez talk about scheduling upgrade : Sports Go ahead and get ready for every media outlet and slack jawed yokel to decry Alabama turning this down and bash the SEC's OOC scheduling while blithely ignoring the fact that Alabama has neutral site openers against Michigan and Virginia Tech the next two season and then a home-and-home series with Michigan State. Come talk to us in 2017, maybe we can squeeze you in. Update/Further Thoughts: The Michigan State series is set for 2016-2017, so that does leave a gap of 2014-2015 where we'll be looking for a marquee OOC opponent. Gut instinct is that the SEC will be moving to a nine game conference schedule in the next few years, and couple that with the original ESPN orchestrated talks of neutral site game being countered with a home-and-home series and it makes sense to turn it down. With the uncertainty of just how future SEC scheduling is going to work out, plus the playoffs starting in 2014 with all its uncertainty and the inevitable growing pains, the wait and see approach is the smart one. Update/FURTHER Further Thoughts: I'd forgotten about the 2014 opener against West Virginia that was recently announced, so that leaves Alabama without a marquee OOC for only one season between now and 2017. Dollars to donuts the neutral site game ESPN was trying to set up was a 2015 opener, but Bielema's counter of a home-and-home scuttled the deal.